Thursday, May 18, 2006

They Were Here Just A Minute Ago

The FBI is digging up a rural horse farm outside Detroit, looking for the remains of Jimmy Hoffa, last seen 30 years ago by whoever decided his time on earth was over. Judge Crater's disappearance in 1930 is still a mystery, although a letter left by a recently-deceased Queens NY woman claims he's buried under the boardwalk on Coney Island. Likewise, D.B. Cooper, who, one fine night in 1971, stepped off the back steps of a Boeing 727 with $200,000 and, if you were Duane Weber's wife, would hear her husband say was D. B.; most people think he splattered in the thick woods.

I understand that suspicious death cases are never closed; eventually, they end up on A&E's "Cold Case Files," or in some detective's lower desk drawer. But the feds like to have closure. Dead or alive, they want to know what happened to those who walk off into the fog.

Part of my job at the college is to find lost alumni. People move all the time, especially in their early years out of college as they establish themselves in the workplace. You need someone who knows how to use the Internet and has good intuitive skills to bring closure -- that is, find them. Some days, I feel like Sherlock Holmes and, although he never really said, "Elementary, my dear Watson," there are times I am tempted to.

I wonder what happened to Dinah Kelly? I lost my first girlfriend last month, but Dinah was the girl next door I wanted to marry. She was six, I was seven; I still feel nice vibes for her, even though she is now 63 and who knows in what shape. I'd like to meet her some time and say hello, bring a little closure to our relationship. Meet the husband, the kids, the (gasp) grandkids, the ... no, let's not even go there. My last photo of her is when she was seven and that's how she stays.

There are so many people who helped form me, teach me, put up with me in my younger days. I'd like to bring closure by telling them how much they meant to me. I've been able to do it once or twice. Another time it was in a letter to a person's widow when I happened to see his obituary in our back-home newspaper. Maybe they have that knowledge now, it being given to them as they left this world as part of their "ya done good" examination of life. I pray for them often, that their contribution to my life be taken into account.

They were here, it seems, just a minute ago. Are they gone that long?


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